At the end of last year, the Guardian reported concerns over a ‘diplomatic’ visit to Serbia made by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Johnson, it alleged, had spent at least part of his time in Serbia – a trip paid for, of course, by tax-payers – promoting his book on Winston Churchill at a well-known Serbian bookshop:
The book’s publisher referred to Johnson’s visit on Twitter in terms that appeared to suggest discussion of his book had been the focus rather than the official subject of press freedom:
Johnson denied that any book-signing had taken place. His spokesman said:
The Serbian newspaper making the suggestion this was a promotional event is simply wrong and wasn’t even at the event. We have said before that this was not a promotional event and we made that request very clear in advance of the trip.
The event took place in a closed bookshop and focused on press freedoms. Maybe Labour should focus on coming up with some policies for the good of the country instead of wasting everyone’s time on this kind of rubbish.
adding that it was “absolutely not a promotional event” and that suggestions that he was intentionally publicising his book would be “completely wrong”.
A series of Freedom of Information Act requests initially met with the response that no relevant information on the visit existed, but after an appeal the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) admitted it did exist – but has prolonged the response process so that no information will be disclosed until after the election.
However, the SKWAWKBOX has received a number of photographs from the event – and a copy of the full, formal letter of complaint sent in December to Theresa May about the visit by Labour MP Andrew Gwynne.
A letter May has, so far, ignored completely:
The information in Gwynne’s letter raises serious questions about Johnson’s conduct. The images of the event below – which have never before been released – underline those questions in bold ink:
The Foreign Secretary must answer those questions.
Theresa May must answer why she ignored Gwynne’s letter about alleged serious misconduct by one of her most senior Cabinet ministers for six months.
And in the interests of our democracy, they must do so before Election Day.
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